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No plan to privatize Indian Railways: Minister

New Delhi| Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav on Thursday said that there is no plan to privatize the Indian Railways, an assurance given by his predecessor as well. Replying to a debate in the Rajya Sabha on the functioning of his ministry, he said that it is a complex organization with social responsibility and the biggest challenge was a capital investment in the sector, which was accelerated after the merger of the Railway Budget with the Union Budget in 2017. went.

Vaishnav also said that till 2014 the capital investment was only Rs 45,000 crore, which was doubled in 2017 and a total of Rs 2,45,800 crore has been invested so far.

Stating that there was no question of discrimination against any state, he said that states should work closely with the central government in land acquisition for the efficient running of railways.

Regarding the expansion of the network, he said that before 2014, the average extension of track laying was only 1,520 km per annum, but now it has been brought down to 3,000 km per annum.

On the comments of Trinamool Congress member Derek O’Brien, Vaishnav said that he carried out the tasks as per the vision document.

Regarding electrification of roads, the minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had directed to shift from diesel to electric locomotives. “The average electrification from 2009 to 2014 was 608 km per annum, which was increased to 3,440 km per annum in 2021 and so far we have electrified over 50,000 km.”

Referring to the new initiative, he said that the ministry has planned to run 75 Vande Bharat trains by 2024.

“Vande Bharat series trains are built by our own engineers and the two trains which were launched earlier have traveled up to two lakh kms so far.. will be rolled out soon.”

Regarding the work of Bullet Train Corridor from Ahmedabad to Mumbai, he told the House that the work is going on at a fast pace and 80 km of elevated corridors have been built so far.

On other achievements, he said, “Under the guidance of PM Modi we have started Kisan Rail as well as rolled out small containers for small traders and MSME sectors.”

The minister also admitted that the operational ratio has been reduced, but it will be better soon after the cargo carrying capacity increases.

He also said that stoppages of trains have been rationalized and efforts are being made to increase the cargo capacity so that they can subsidize passenger fares. The subsidy on passenger fares is Rs 62,000 crore per annum.

On the demand for the creation of new railway zones and divisions, he said that railways would be operated on regional aspirations.

Referring to Kerala’s Silverline project, he said the ministry is examining the proposal and will take a decision soon.

He also said, “We should commend the engineers who have indigenously designed the anti-collision device ‘Kavach’ which has been successfully tested and the whole world can praise the railway engineers for achieving this feat. has been.”

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